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Five Goals in First Leads Flyers to Victory

by Staff Writer / Philadelphia Flyers
(Anaheim, CA, November 15) – The Philadelphia Flyers scored five first period goals and gave the Anaheim Ducks their first regulation home loss of the season in a 7-4 victory at the Honda Center on Wednesday night.

With the game tied 1-1 early in the first period the Flyers scored the next four goals, including two on the power play, to take a 5-1 lead.

First, Geoff Sanderson made it a 2-1 game with his fifth goal of the season. Sanderson centered the puck to R.J. Umberger, whose shot was stopped by Jean-Sebastien Giguere. Triston Grant lifted the rebound off of the post, where it bounced to Sanderson who knocked it into the open net at 11:16.

Peter Forsberg, returning after missing the last two games with a right ankle sprain, had a hand in the next three scores as Philadelphia took command of the game.

His sixth goal of the game on a great single effort was first, when he did a 360-degree spin behind the net to elude defenseman Samuel Pahlsson. Forsberg then skated around the net and turned around for a high wrist shot over Giguere's near shoulder at 13:02.

"I haven't scored one of those goals in four years, so that was nice," said Forsberg, who was wearing a new orthotic brace on his right ankle for the first time in game action.

Although he didn't get a point on the next goal, Forsberg set it up by drawing two defenders to the far side boards. He managed to find an open Joni Pitkanen, who then fed Simon Gagne down low. Gagne quickly passed through the crease to Mike Knuble for a pretty tap-in power play goal at 15:22.

Gagne's power play tally on a feed from Forsberg made it 5-1 at 16:26 in what was the eventual game-winner, before Pahlsson's rebound goal at 18:33 got Anaheim back to within three goals at the intermission.

The Flyers' five goals in the first period were more than they had in any single game. With the win, Philadelphia snapped a six-game losing streak and gave the Ducks just their second regulation loss of the season.

"We've been talking all along that we can be a good team. We played Buffalo to overtime, and now we have played Anaheim and we beat them in their building," said John Stevens. "I think the big test now is we have to agree that is the way we need to play. But, we can't relax. We need to take what we can out of this game and put it towards the next one."

The Western Conference-leading Ducks outshot Philadelphia 13-2 in the second period as they desperately tried to get back into the game. They closed the gap on the power play when defenseman Scott Niedermayer skated the puck in from the point and found Dustin Penner in front of the crease. Penner tapped the puck through Robert Esche at 6:09.

Two early third period goals but the game away, however, as the Flyers reclaimed their four-goal cushion. Alexandre Picard's wrist shot from the high slot on the power play found daylight behind Ilya Bryzgalov at 2:59, while Sami Kapanen took a beautiful saucer pass from Petr Nedved and lifted the puck in at 5:16. It was his second of the night for Kapanen after he opened the scoring in the first period.

"We played great in the third period. We didn't sit back and kept working and scored a couple goals, which was great to see," said Forsberg.

The Flyers ended the night 3-for-5 on the power play and killed off 4-of-6 Ducks power plays.

"The penalty kill with Hatcher and Rathje; that's the best I've seen them play all year," said Stevens. "They were a huge factor in keeping the power play at bay."

Esche recorded his second win of the season making 37 saves.

Anaheim outshot the Flyers for the game, 41-16.

Philadelphia continues its road trip on Thursday in Los Angeles (7:30 p.m., Comcast SportsNet, 610 WIP).

"We have a great effort like this night which is tremendous and we need to pick up tomorrow night where we left off," said Stevens.

Grant's assist on Sanderson's goal was his first career NHL point … Boyd Kane returned to the lineup after missing the last nine games with a high right ankle sprain and got into a fight with Anaheim's Shane O'Brien in the third period. … Kyle Calder and Ryan Potulny were the Flyers' scratched players. … Bryzgalov replaced Giguere in net for Anaheim after Gagne's first period goal. … Anaheim is now 8-1-3 at home this season.
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